Avoid Contaminating Others
To avoid becoming a contamination source to others, follow these simple steps:
- Shower before you swim, if possible.
- Do not swim, or allow family members to swim, if currently ill with a gastrointestinal illness (vomiting
and diarrhea), or have been ill within the last few days.
- Keep children who are not toilet trained out of the water.
- Do not allow children with dirty diapers in the water.
- Do not swim if you have a skin infection.
- Keep pets off the beach and out of the swimming areas.
If you are informed and practice these risk-reduction techniques, you can relax and enjoy the summer at your
favorite swimming beach. And, please, share this information with others, so they, too, can enjoy the elements.
What Are the Symptoms?
- General waterborne illness: Symptoms may be visible from 1 day up to 4 weeks after
being exposed and include: cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, headache, and/or eye, ear and skin infections.
- Swimmer's itch symptoms: Include burning and itching of infected skin within 5
minutes to an hour after leaving the water, and small reddish pimples within 12 hours.
- Toxic blue-green algae symptoms: Similar to waterborne illness, but can also include
numbness of the lips, tingling in the fingers and toes, and dizziness.
Prevent Swimming-Related Illnesses and Injuries
Here are some key things you can do to reduce your risk of illness and injury and make your trip to the beach safe and pleasant for your family:
- Avoid large crowds of bathers.
The larger the number of swimmers, the higher the risk of illness transmission.
- Donít swallow swimming water. Itís probably impossible to avoid swallowing some water
while swimming, but the less you swallow, the less likely youíll consume enough to make you sick.
- After swimming, wash your hands before eating.
- Avoid areas where there is animal waste or obvious sources of pollution nearby,
such as sewage discharge or stormwater pipes, or other obvious sources of pollution nearby. There are many
bacteria, viruses and parasites that cause disease in humans that can be spread by fecal waste from wild and
domestic animals, and humans.
- Protect yourself from swimmerís itch. Avoid swimming in areas where there is
evidence of ducks and geese. Apply a good waterproof sunscreen prior to entering the water. And use a towel to dry off immediately after swimming.
- Prevent drowning. Know where safety equipment, such as ring buoys and reaching
poles, are located. Make sure personal floatation devices are available and are worn when boating. These
are especially important for persons using canoes, inflatable boats, jet skis, and other powerboats.
Carefully supervise young children and poor swimmers when near the water.
- Avoid swimming in areas where there are obvious algae blooms. Some blue-green
algae produce toxins, which have caused illness in pets and livestock. Keep children and pets out of the water
when an algae bloom is present. For more information, see
Toxic Blue-Green Algae